Brantford Red Sox 2023 Season In Review
BRANTFORD - With their opening round playoff defeat to Welland, the Brantford Red Sox's season has concluded. Sporting an 8-34 regular season record, the 2023 team vastly improved on their abysmal 2-39 record from the previous year. However, with a win total in single-digits there is still much more work to be done, and room for improvement in order for the league's most historically-decorated franchise to regain its former glory. 2023 saw steps in the right direction. Here's a brief look back at the 2023 season:
Brantford brought in a core group of new players for 2023, many of whom were IBL rookies, pointing the way to a promising future for the team. Here are a few of the team's standout players statistically* this season:
Matt FabianAn odds-on favourite to win rookie of the year, Matt led the IBL with a .406 batting average. He finished 1 shy of the team lead in both hits (54, 7th best in IBL) and runs scored (37).
Gus WilsonAnother standout in his rookie IBL season. Gus' .352 batting average was 2nd best on the team and in the league's top 10. Finished the year with 50 hits (3rd best on team, 11th overall in IBL), team-bests in runs scored (38) and RBI (29), and also finished tied for the team lead with 14 doubles and 4 home runs.
Christian KuzemkaAfter being acquired from Barrie a month into the season, Christian put together a stellar rookie year. He the team with 55 hits (6th best in IBL). Christian's 344 average and 25 RBI were 3rd best on the team.
Jeremie VeilleuxJeremie finished the season with a career high .314 batting average. He tied for team leads with 4 HRs and 14 doubles. Jeremie's 28 RBI were 1 shy of the team lead. and his 27 runs scored were 3rd best. And in addition to getting banged up behind the plate, Jeremie also team in being hit by 14 pitches (2nd highest in the IBL).
Danny HowatAfter graduating from the Jr. Red Sox, Danny turned in another arguable rookie of the year worthy season, He led virtually all Brantford pitching stat categories with 21 games played, 68.1 innings pitched, 58 strikeouts (tied for 8th best in IBL), 3 wins, and a 4.08 ERA (8th best in IBL).
Isaiah RamosDespite only joining the team a quarter of the way through the season (on June 8), Isaiah ranked 2nd amongst Red Sox pitchers in innings pitched (47.1), strikeouts (50), and wins (2).
season in Review
Consistency, or a lack thereof, was the key theme of the 2023 Brantford Red Sox's season. The team had moments where they showed their potential, and they beat every other team in the league at least once (except for their eventual ouster, Welland). Observers of the 2023 Red Sox can attest that the team played better than their overall record indicated, but too often a bad inning or costly errors would allow games to get quickly out of hand. When the team put all of the pieces together they played quality baseball and won games. Unfortunately that just didn't happen consistently enough across the 42 game schedule to put a decent number of wins together.
Batting was not an overall issue for the Red Sox this season - the team certainly had the ability to hit. The consistency to do so, day in and day out, was lacking though. There were too many games where Brantford would only put together 4 or 5 total hits. But the team scored 7 or more runs 13 times, which should be enough to win games in the IBL... if it's in conjunction with pitching and defence.
But pitching and defence were clearly the team's weakness this season. Brantford committed a league-worst 94 errors, and gave up 457 runs, the most in the league (nearly 150 more than the 2 next teams). Plugging holes defensively, and strengthening and deepening the pitching staff should be a top priority for ownership this offseason.
After 5 straight losses in May to open up the season, the Brantford Red Sox became a practically new team in June with a coaching change and the addition of new key players. After securing their first 2 wins of the year, the Red Sox then went on a month-long 12 game losing streak (which included a heartbreaking extra innings loss to Barrie and a pair of close defeats to Hamilton). The team learned lessons along the way, and adjusted to their new makeup. Brantford then started to put together wins in bunches, going a respectable 6-8 from July 9 to August 12. But then the Red Sox wrapped the regular season on another momentum-killing losing skid, this one 6 games long (including a frustrating pair of close losses to Hamilton and London). If the team played consistently at that July-mid August level all season long they would have finished right in the middle of the IBL standings - hopefully an attainable goal for 2024.
First and foremost, thank you to the loyal Brantford Red Sox fans. Your support is greatly appreciated as the franchise finds its way back to its winning tradition. A huge thanks as well to the team's generous sponsors, who provide the ability to continue IBL baseball in Brantford and keep a Red Sox legacy dating back to 1911 intact. And special thanks to the team's dedicated volunteers, who believe in Brantford Red Sox baseball and its importance to the community - and who sacrifice to make it happen not just during ball season but all year round.
Stay tuned to brantfordredsox.com and the team's social media sites this offseason for the latest news and happenings. We'll see you back at Arnold Anderson Stadium in May 2024.